Tips on minimising withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine)

Posted by richyrich @richyrich, Nov 2, 2016

I have been taking Effexor/Venlafaxine for years and tried to get off it a few times but each time I try to give up the chemical withdrawal symptoms are a horror story and I give up giving up. Anyone got any tips or tried and tested strategies? Thank you

Liked by Bek, LynneB, kelly76, echams1 ... see all

Hi, @newberry–Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Glad you’ve found the posts on this discussion helpful.

That is not fun at all that each day after halving your Venlafaxine has seemed to get worse.

@wendyw, @hopeful33250, @coloradogirl, @parus, @jenapower, @jimhd, @bekinprogress, @cathy615, @lcamino, @ricktrout, @nanke99 — would any of you have any tips on dealing with or calming the night sweats, or words of encouragement as @newberry tapers back on Venlafaxine (Effexor)?

If you don’t mind me asking, @newberry, what is your full taper plan? Does it seem to be going too fast, or at the right pace?

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My son has taken his prescription to a compounding pharmacy who is reducing to dose so he can slowly taper off the 37.5. He is now a week into having the 18.5 mg and it’s been much better than when he tried to stop the 37.5. His plan is to do this for another week, then go down to 9 mg for a few weeks. It seems everyone reacts differently to the withdrawals but this tapering is better for him. I spoke to Pfizer yesterday and suggested the make weaning off dosages too!

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@lisalucier

Hi, @newberry–Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Glad you’ve found the posts on this discussion helpful.

That is not fun at all that each day after halving your Venlafaxine has seemed to get worse.

@wendyw, @hopeful33250, @coloradogirl, @parus, @jenapower, @jimhd, @bekinprogress, @cathy615, @lcamino, @ricktrout, @nanke99 — would any of you have any tips on dealing with or calming the night sweats, or words of encouragement as @newberry tapers back on Venlafaxine (Effexor)?

If you don’t mind me asking, @newberry, what is your full taper plan? Does it seem to be going too fast, or at the right pace?

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@newberry, @ lisalucier – Sorry I did not have any side effects when I stopped Effexor. I don’t even recall tapering so I must have been on a smaller dose.

Lynn

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@wendyw

My son has taken his prescription to a compounding pharmacy who is reducing to dose so he can slowly taper off the 37.5. He is now a week into having the 18.5 mg and it’s been much better than when he tried to stop the 37.5. His plan is to do this for another week, then go down to 9 mg for a few weeks. It seems everyone reacts differently to the withdrawals but this tapering is better for him. I spoke to Pfizer yesterday and suggested the make weaning off dosages too!

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@wednyw – I’m impressed at you contacting drug manufacturers. I’ve never done that before but I will keep it in mind if it is ever applicable in the future. Going straight to the source is not a bad option.

Lynn

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@newberry, if the side effects are too bad, you might need to talk to your doctor about a slower taper. I seem to be a person who is really sensitive to changes in medications (not just anti-depressants) and I had this problem going off of Zoloft. The usual taper is to cut the dose in half each time – which means at the beginning that it’s a pretty big decrease in the amount of medication. We went down by 1/4 each time and that did help, although at the end I got tired of the side effects coming back at each dosage change so when I hit the minimum starting dose, I just went off completely and dealt with it for a couple of weeks. It is hard but you can do it – just be patient with yourself in the meantime.

Liked by Lisa Lucier

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@lisalucier

Hi, @newberry–Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Glad you’ve found the posts on this discussion helpful.

That is not fun at all that each day after halving your Venlafaxine has seemed to get worse.

@wendyw, @hopeful33250, @coloradogirl, @parus, @jenapower, @jimhd, @bekinprogress, @cathy615, @lcamino, @ricktrout, @nanke99 — would any of you have any tips on dealing with or calming the night sweats, or words of encouragement as @newberry tapers back on Venlafaxine (Effexor)?

If you don’t mind me asking, @newberry, what is your full taper plan? Does it seem to be going too fast, or at the right pace?

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Hello, I have to say that after the 5/6 day things started getting better. I haven’t been feeling anywhere near a terrible as I was. I did call to speak to my doctor just to confirm that how I was feeling was “normal” and it was/is. I will take this dose for 4 weeks. I am not exactly sure of full taper plan but I think I’m going to be cutting dose in half and then maybe every other day until finished. I just hope that for each step I don’t feel that way for that long. Thank you to everyone who responded!

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@lolita9

Just joined the conversation. I’ve only been on effexor for less than a year that my doctor and I decided to take me off. Side effects coming off when I do not take the 75 mg is horrendous. I haven’t told anyone in my family that I’m on this and now am alone in coming off. I’m so scared but I can only trust my doctor to help me through this. It help to read I’m not alone. I wish I never taken it.

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Hi @lisalucier and @jimhd , I had alot going on with my Mom having emergency surgery at 91, so I have not been able to reply. She’s recovering nicely :).
I did continue to taper off at 37.5 mg for a week until I was back home to talk with my Doctor. After my pleading for my dosage to be reduced further, he put me on 25 mg twice a day for two weeks. I’m in my second week. Then I’m suppose to go to 25 mg a day for a week them stop (if I can). With another follow up appointment on 12/14.
I have not had any of the brain zaps in the last week however, my nightmares do continue, and I’m sleepy all the time. He did say he may refer me to a psychiatrist to help with the tapering off should I continue to have serious side effects. I said I’ll do whatever it takes. The brain zaps, nauseau, vomitting, vertigo was just horrible and I told him I had never had side effects like that. He also recommended I may go on Prozac or Zoloft, which I’ve taken in the past, to help with the depression if it continues.
Honestly, I feel better knowing that soon I’ll be off the Effexor XR. The fear is real. To those that wish to get off, do not give up!
Blessings to everyone.

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@wendyw

My son has taken his prescription to a compounding pharmacy who is reducing to dose so he can slowly taper off the 37.5. He is now a week into having the 18.5 mg and it’s been much better than when he tried to stop the 37.5. His plan is to do this for another week, then go down to 9 mg for a few weeks. It seems everyone reacts differently to the withdrawals but this tapering is better for him. I spoke to Pfizer yesterday and suggested the make weaning off dosages too!

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Lynn I contacted them a few weeks ago and didn’t get far with the person spoke to apart from he4 saying for more information I would need a doctor or pharmacist to call. Which the pharmacist did do.
But a couple of days ago a Pfizer person contacted me and gathered information in a very professional manner and will contact my son directly.
The information given by people with concerns is collated and kept in case a pattern is shown. I’m my case it was to see if Effexor caused severe kidney stones in my son. Having this call from Pfizer made me feel listened to, and that they genuinely wanted to know the details. She also said they would notify me in the future if anything changed.

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@lolita9

Just joined the conversation. I’ve only been on effexor for less than a year that my doctor and I decided to take me off. Side effects coming off when I do not take the 75 mg is horrendous. I haven’t told anyone in my family that I’m on this and now am alone in coming off. I’m so scared but I can only trust my doctor to help me through this. It help to read I’m not alone. I wish I never taken it.

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@lisalucier and @jimhd I also want to add that I’ve started talking Omega 3 & multivitamin that I’ve heard helps. I also take 200 mg of L-Theanine. Its something I’ve used for years to quiet my mind to help me sleep. It also relieves the anxiety without any side affects. Just thought I’d share that too.

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@lisalucier

Hi, @newberry–Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Glad you’ve found the posts on this discussion helpful.

That is not fun at all that each day after halving your Venlafaxine has seemed to get worse.

@wendyw, @hopeful33250, @coloradogirl, @parus, @jenapower, @jimhd, @bekinprogress, @cathy615, @lcamino, @ricktrout, @nanke99 — would any of you have any tips on dealing with or calming the night sweats, or words of encouragement as @newberry tapers back on Venlafaxine (Effexor)?

If you don’t mind me asking, @newberry, what is your full taper plan? Does it seem to be going too fast, or at the right pace?

Jump to this post

@newberry – This is a good time to practice patience. I’ve learned to taper in very small increments, and give each change more time than I really needed to. I remember some of the words from a book we read often to our children 30 years ago. Slow and steady, steady and slow – that’s the way I always go. That was a Disney version of the tortoise and the hare.

I doubt very much that your doctor would object to you tapering even more slowly than she prescribes. Posting here about your progress can help others know more about what to expect. Thanks for keeping us posted about your experience.

Jim

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@lolita9

Just joined the conversation. I’ve only been on effexor for less than a year that my doctor and I decided to take me off. Side effects coming off when I do not take the 75 mg is horrendous. I haven’t told anyone in my family that I’m on this and now am alone in coming off. I’m so scared but I can only trust my doctor to help me through this. It help to read I’m not alone. I wish I never taken it.

Jump to this post

@lolita9 – I’m glad to hear that you’re taking things slowly. If you’re considering trying Prozac, or whatever, it could help a lot with the side effects of getting off Effexor if you’d overlap tapering off the Effexor and tapering on to the antidepressant you plan to try. It helped me avoid the side effects, and I read someone else in this discussion suggest doing the overlapping.

Whatever you do, I hope you find the best treatment.

Jim

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I am really struggling with the withdrawal off of Effexor. I had taken it for about 10 years. First subscribed after divorce of 30 year marriage and then five years later lost my son to PTSD related suicide from serving 3 tours to Iraq. The Effexor was making me physically ill. My BP was off the charts and no bp meds were helping. I was a walking sweat box. By the time I had showered, done my hair and got dressed, I was ready for another shower. At night I had to get up and change my pjs, sheets, blankets or put a dry beach towel down to get back to sleep. At my last PCP I told him I thought I had a kidney infection so he did a urine culture. He found a “considerable amount” of blood in my urine. I was retested the following three months and referred to a urologist. I began reading symptoms of long term use of Effexor and decided it was causing severe physical complications. I found a reputable psychiatrist (good luck with that!) and told her about my physical problems and my concern about the Effexor. She acted like it was a piece of cake to get off of it. She weaned me off of the Effexor (took about 4 weeks) while she started me on Prozac. The Prozac was increased as the Effexor was decreased. I immediately noticed that I didn’t have that “foggy brain” that I had had for so many years and felt like my concentration definitely improved. Then BAM! After being off of the Effexor for about two months, my anxiety is off the charts. Before I even open my eyes in the morning, the anxiety is unbearable. I have a little wiener dog that I have to get up and feed and let out. I literally feel like getting in my vehicle and running it into the river. It’s total hell. I eat a bit of breakfast and try to get on with my day but within an hour I am literally incapable of taking care of myself or my dog. I become paralyzed with the anxiety. Absolutely paralyzed. I cannot function. I have asked my psych to up the Xanax to 3 or 4 .25 tabs a day but she’s refusing telling me I just have to tough it out. By noon or 1:00 I have already taken the 2 tabs allowed for the day and then the anxiety REALLY goes through the roof. I try to stay busy, (I’m retired) but I literally cannot function. If I can heat up a can of soup to eat for the day or load the dishwasher, I feel like I’ve accomplished something. It is absolutely HORRIBLE. My 60th bday was last week and I was in such horrible shape I couldn’t leave the house to go to dinner with my daughter and her family. Now I am having the “flu like” symptoms of withdrawal; achy joints, nausea and diarhea (sp??) and extreme weakness. I can barely stand long enough to get from the couch or bed to the bathroom. And taking a shower doesn’t happen but maybe once a week. I’m wondering if I’m going to survive this. It is such a double edged sword. I know the Efffexor was killing me, literally, with my kidney and bp problems but I’m seriously wondering if I’m going to make it through this. All I think about is killing myself because I don’t see a way out of this….I know that grief plays a huge part of my anxiety and depression and the holidays are definitely a trigger, but I have never felt this badly in the six years since my son is gone….I feel like a train wreck…..

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@sadiesmom

I am really struggling with the withdrawal off of Effexor. I had taken it for about 10 years. First subscribed after divorce of 30 year marriage and then five years later lost my son to PTSD related suicide from serving 3 tours to Iraq. The Effexor was making me physically ill. My BP was off the charts and no bp meds were helping. I was a walking sweat box. By the time I had showered, done my hair and got dressed, I was ready for another shower. At night I had to get up and change my pjs, sheets, blankets or put a dry beach towel down to get back to sleep. At my last PCP I told him I thought I had a kidney infection so he did a urine culture. He found a “considerable amount” of blood in my urine. I was retested the following three months and referred to a urologist. I began reading symptoms of long term use of Effexor and decided it was causing severe physical complications. I found a reputable psychiatrist (good luck with that!) and told her about my physical problems and my concern about the Effexor. She acted like it was a piece of cake to get off of it. She weaned me off of the Effexor (took about 4 weeks) while she started me on Prozac. The Prozac was increased as the Effexor was decreased. I immediately noticed that I didn’t have that “foggy brain” that I had had for so many years and felt like my concentration definitely improved. Then BAM! After being off of the Effexor for about two months, my anxiety is off the charts. Before I even open my eyes in the morning, the anxiety is unbearable. I have a little wiener dog that I have to get up and feed and let out. I literally feel like getting in my vehicle and running it into the river. It’s total hell. I eat a bit of breakfast and try to get on with my day but within an hour I am literally incapable of taking care of myself or my dog. I become paralyzed with the anxiety. Absolutely paralyzed. I cannot function. I have asked my psych to up the Xanax to 3 or 4 .25 tabs a day but she’s refusing telling me I just have to tough it out. By noon or 1:00 I have already taken the 2 tabs allowed for the day and then the anxiety REALLY goes through the roof. I try to stay busy, (I’m retired) but I literally cannot function. If I can heat up a can of soup to eat for the day or load the dishwasher, I feel like I’ve accomplished something. It is absolutely HORRIBLE. My 60th bday was last week and I was in such horrible shape I couldn’t leave the house to go to dinner with my daughter and her family. Now I am having the “flu like” symptoms of withdrawal; achy joints, nausea and diarhea (sp??) and extreme weakness. I can barely stand long enough to get from the couch or bed to the bathroom. And taking a shower doesn’t happen but maybe once a week. I’m wondering if I’m going to survive this. It is such a double edged sword. I know the Efffexor was killing me, literally, with my kidney and bp problems but I’m seriously wondering if I’m going to make it through this. All I think about is killing myself because I don’t see a way out of this….I know that grief plays a huge part of my anxiety and depression and the holidays are definitely a trigger, but I have never felt this badly in the six years since my son is gone….I feel like a train wreck…..

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I am so so sorry to hear of your pain and struggles. Please keep trying to find another doctor more capable of helping you with your symptoms. You can’t always tough it out. It takes strength to ask for help.
Depression and anxiety are so debilitating but they do get better. My thoughts and love for a happy future are sent from Australia for you. Xxx

Liked by Lisa Lucier

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@sadiesmom

I am really struggling with the withdrawal off of Effexor. I had taken it for about 10 years. First subscribed after divorce of 30 year marriage and then five years later lost my son to PTSD related suicide from serving 3 tours to Iraq. The Effexor was making me physically ill. My BP was off the charts and no bp meds were helping. I was a walking sweat box. By the time I had showered, done my hair and got dressed, I was ready for another shower. At night I had to get up and change my pjs, sheets, blankets or put a dry beach towel down to get back to sleep. At my last PCP I told him I thought I had a kidney infection so he did a urine culture. He found a “considerable amount” of blood in my urine. I was retested the following three months and referred to a urologist. I began reading symptoms of long term use of Effexor and decided it was causing severe physical complications. I found a reputable psychiatrist (good luck with that!) and told her about my physical problems and my concern about the Effexor. She acted like it was a piece of cake to get off of it. She weaned me off of the Effexor (took about 4 weeks) while she started me on Prozac. The Prozac was increased as the Effexor was decreased. I immediately noticed that I didn’t have that “foggy brain” that I had had for so many years and felt like my concentration definitely improved. Then BAM! After being off of the Effexor for about two months, my anxiety is off the charts. Before I even open my eyes in the morning, the anxiety is unbearable. I have a little wiener dog that I have to get up and feed and let out. I literally feel like getting in my vehicle and running it into the river. It’s total hell. I eat a bit of breakfast and try to get on with my day but within an hour I am literally incapable of taking care of myself or my dog. I become paralyzed with the anxiety. Absolutely paralyzed. I cannot function. I have asked my psych to up the Xanax to 3 or 4 .25 tabs a day but she’s refusing telling me I just have to tough it out. By noon or 1:00 I have already taken the 2 tabs allowed for the day and then the anxiety REALLY goes through the roof. I try to stay busy, (I’m retired) but I literally cannot function. If I can heat up a can of soup to eat for the day or load the dishwasher, I feel like I’ve accomplished something. It is absolutely HORRIBLE. My 60th bday was last week and I was in such horrible shape I couldn’t leave the house to go to dinner with my daughter and her family. Now I am having the “flu like” symptoms of withdrawal; achy joints, nausea and diarhea (sp??) and extreme weakness. I can barely stand long enough to get from the couch or bed to the bathroom. And taking a shower doesn’t happen but maybe once a week. I’m wondering if I’m going to survive this. It is such a double edged sword. I know the Efffexor was killing me, literally, with my kidney and bp problems but I’m seriously wondering if I’m going to make it through this. All I think about is killing myself because I don’t see a way out of this….I know that grief plays a huge part of my anxiety and depression and the holidays are definitely a trigger, but I have never felt this badly in the six years since my son is gone….I feel like a train wreck…..

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Sadiesmom, I also have been reading about TMS for depression and the good results they have been achieving on many people without the side effects of drugs.

Liked by Lisa Lucier

REPLY
@sadiesmom

I am really struggling with the withdrawal off of Effexor. I had taken it for about 10 years. First subscribed after divorce of 30 year marriage and then five years later lost my son to PTSD related suicide from serving 3 tours to Iraq. The Effexor was making me physically ill. My BP was off the charts and no bp meds were helping. I was a walking sweat box. By the time I had showered, done my hair and got dressed, I was ready for another shower. At night I had to get up and change my pjs, sheets, blankets or put a dry beach towel down to get back to sleep. At my last PCP I told him I thought I had a kidney infection so he did a urine culture. He found a “considerable amount” of blood in my urine. I was retested the following three months and referred to a urologist. I began reading symptoms of long term use of Effexor and decided it was causing severe physical complications. I found a reputable psychiatrist (good luck with that!) and told her about my physical problems and my concern about the Effexor. She acted like it was a piece of cake to get off of it. She weaned me off of the Effexor (took about 4 weeks) while she started me on Prozac. The Prozac was increased as the Effexor was decreased. I immediately noticed that I didn’t have that “foggy brain” that I had had for so many years and felt like my concentration definitely improved. Then BAM! After being off of the Effexor for about two months, my anxiety is off the charts. Before I even open my eyes in the morning, the anxiety is unbearable. I have a little wiener dog that I have to get up and feed and let out. I literally feel like getting in my vehicle and running it into the river. It’s total hell. I eat a bit of breakfast and try to get on with my day but within an hour I am literally incapable of taking care of myself or my dog. I become paralyzed with the anxiety. Absolutely paralyzed. I cannot function. I have asked my psych to up the Xanax to 3 or 4 .25 tabs a day but she’s refusing telling me I just have to tough it out. By noon or 1:00 I have already taken the 2 tabs allowed for the day and then the anxiety REALLY goes through the roof. I try to stay busy, (I’m retired) but I literally cannot function. If I can heat up a can of soup to eat for the day or load the dishwasher, I feel like I’ve accomplished something. It is absolutely HORRIBLE. My 60th bday was last week and I was in such horrible shape I couldn’t leave the house to go to dinner with my daughter and her family. Now I am having the “flu like” symptoms of withdrawal; achy joints, nausea and diarhea (sp??) and extreme weakness. I can barely stand long enough to get from the couch or bed to the bathroom. And taking a shower doesn’t happen but maybe once a week. I’m wondering if I’m going to survive this. It is such a double edged sword. I know the Efffexor was killing me, literally, with my kidney and bp problems but I’m seriously wondering if I’m going to make it through this. All I think about is killing myself because I don’t see a way out of this….I know that grief plays a huge part of my anxiety and depression and the holidays are definitely a trigger, but I have never felt this badly in the six years since my son is gone….I feel like a train wreck…..

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Thank you for your kindness…..hugs.

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